What’s your damage, Heathers? The hour-long adaptation of the 1998 cult-classic film has been scrapped at Paramount Network, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Originally scheduled to debut March 7, Paramount Network delayed the premiere due to the show’s content — citing “challenging subjects” including gun violence, per a network statement — as being potentially insensitive following the Parkland, Florida high school mass shooting.
“This is a high school show, we’re blowing up the school, there are guns in the school, it’s a satire and there are moments of teachers having guns. It’s hitting on so many hot topics. This company can’t be speaking out of both sides of its mouth, saying the youth movement is important for us and we’ve done all these wonderful things to support that and at the same time, we’re putting on a show that we’re not comfortable with,” said Keith Cox, Paramount Network president of development and production.
Like the original film, the Heathers TV series focused on themes of teenage suicide and violence. The fifth episode (screeners had been made available to press) began with a lengthy scene in which a first-person POV walks through a high school shooting someone. The scene is revealed to be a video game.
“It’s a satire but it’s very bold,” said Cox. “We knew that and then this [gun control] movement happened [after Parkland] and we as a company applauded that movement. This was a very difficult decision. We had multiple meetings, and in the end, we didn’t feel comfortable right now airing the series and I’m not sure when there might be a time that we as a youthful brand at Viacom would feel comfortable. That said, we are very diligently trying to sell this because we believe in the show.”
Whether Heathers will live, of course, on remains to be seen, but if Veronica Sawyer can go to hell and back, there’s a chance here too.